November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Are You Aware? November Shines Light on Pet Cancer—Know the Signs!

Table of Contents

No questions asked: cancer is a 5-letter word no pet owner wants to hear. And as pets are living longer, diseases, like cancer, that come along with aging, can occur. National Pet Cancer Awareness month was established to inform the public on prevention, what to look for, and treatment of cancer in pets.

Pets have a risk of developing different types of cancer just as humans do. Cancer is quite common in dogs and less so in cats. Certain breeds of dogs have a higher risk of developing cancer at a young age, but most often cancer is diagnosed in middle-aged and senior pets.

Over 100 types of cancers affect our animal companions. Some of the types of cancers diagnosed in pets are the same types as those in humans, including mammary gland cancer and lymphoma; with leukemia being the most common type of cancer diagnosed in cats.

Some common types of cancers diagnosed in companion pets are:

  • Blood and lymphatic cancers (lymphoma and leukemia)
  • Skin cancer
  • Mammary gland (breast) tumors (in unspayed pets)
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Bone cancers
  • Oral cancers
  • Abdominal organ cancer (e.g. spleen, liver)

The cause of many pet cancers is unknown making prevention difficult; however certain cancers can be prevented. Taking the following steps can reduce the incidence of certain cancers:

  • Spaying reduces the risk of mammary gland cancer in cats and dogs.
  • Neutering entirely eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
  • Keeping your pet out of the sun, especially between the hours of 10am and 2pm reduces the risk of some forms of skin cancer.
  • Vaccinating your cat with the feline leukemia vaccine prevents infection with the feline leukemia virus.
  • Avoiding smoking in your home is thought to prevent some forms of cancer in dogs and cats.

Early detection and treatment is the best way to increase the life expectancy if your pet has cancer. The warning signs of cancer in pets are very similar to those in humans. Sometimes there are no obvious signs, so any time that your pet appears unwell or something is unusual, check with your veterinarian. Some warning signs to look for include:

  • General malaise and lethargy
  • Lumps, bumps, or discoloured skin
  • Wounds that do not heal
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Unexplained lameness or swelling of joints and bones
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose, or any other opening
  • Difficulty eating
  • Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sudden weight loss

Many of the above signs can be seen with conditions unrelated to cancer, but still need prompt attention. If any of the above signs are observed in your pet, see your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Although frightening, a diagnosis of cancer does not necessarily mean that your pet won’t survive. If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, and depending on the type of cancer, treatment can be successful if the disease is caught early.

Take your pet to your veterinarian for regular wellness checks. Get into the habit of checking your pet over at home between check-ups – this way you know what is normal for your pet, allowing you to seek veterinary care sooner if you notice something unusual.

LifeLearn News

Note: This article, written by LifeLearn Animal Health (LifeLearn Inc.) is licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by a veterinarian.

Spending extra time at home with our pets during the pandemic has strengthened our human-animal bonds, making the idea of leaving town for that long-awaited vacation hard to fathom. But that’s where a professional pet sitter comes in – someone who can ensure that your pets have a great time,

Pet Owner’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness

Are You Ready? A Pet Owner's Guide to Emergency Preparedness

The current conflict in Ukraine has left its citizens and their pets in a state of crisis, forcing many to evacuate the country for shelter and safety. Some evacuees have or are trying to escape with their pets and many others have been forced to leave them behind, not knowing

Pet Food Supply Issues: How to Keep Your Pet Well-fed and Fed Well

Stuck in the Pet Food Aisle? How to Choose the Best Alternatives During Shortages!

If you’re the personal shopper to a cat or dog, you’ve likely found yourself in this dilemma: the shelf that always holds their usual food is empty, the ETA for more stock is unknown, and you need to choose something else – but what? Over the last two years, thanks

Changing the Outlook for Flat-faced Dogs (the Change Starts With Us)

Can We Make Flat-faced Dogs Healthier? Your Role in the Change!

A recent litter of hairless French Bulldogs bred in the UK has whipped up a flurry of media attention that is raising concerns around “extreme breeding”, in essence, breeding programs that focus on exaggerated conformational changes. Frenchies, and other designer flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds like the Chinese Pug and English Bulldog,

What Your Pet Really Wants for Valentine’s Day!

What Gifts Make Your Pet's Heart Purr on Valentine's Day?

Pets are family, so it’s understandable that they want to share the holiday of love with the most important people in their lives (that’s you), and that includes sharing the gifts you receive! Pets have good reason to be interested in the treats, plants, and stuffed toys people enjoy on

Dental Health for All Pets (That Have Teeth)

Got Teeth? The Importance of Dental Health for All Pets!

What do dogs, cats, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and degus have in common? Teeth! And because they get used daily, keeping your pet’s teeth healthy is important to their overall health and quality of life. February is Pet Dental Health Month so it’s a great time to review the basics

New Year Fitness Goals With Your Pets

New Year, New Fitness Goals: How to Get Fit with Your Pets!

We’ve all heard of Covid-19 but what about the dreaded “Covid-15”? People everywhere are commiserating about their weight gain during the pandemic and the same applies to our pets. A survey of 1,000 cat and dog owners in the US found that 42% of respondents had pets that gained weight

Answering Your Cat’s Questions

Why Cats Ask and How Humans Answer: Unraveling Feline Curiosity!

We all know cats are curious, but do we know what they’re curious about? If they could ask us anything, what would it be? And how would you answer their questions? Well, we received some anonymous submissions from your cats (with our special kitty translating device of course!) and this

Your pet’s happiness is our priority! If your furry friend needs anything, don’t hesitate to call. We’re here to guide and ensure their well-being with a warm touch and friendly advice.